Born November 26, 1924 in Detroit, Michigan, Angela Marie Aubert was the daughter of Joseph Telesphore “Ted” Aubert (d. 1936) and Helen Benesch (d. 1971). She had one brother. She was raised in Wildwood, Alberta and attended high school there. In 1945, Angela Aubert moved to Edmonton to enroll in business and secretarial studies at McTavish Business College. She then began a career as a secretary in Edmonton. It was at this time that she felt a call to religious life and on August 25, 1948, she was received into the Community of the Sisters of St. Joseph at Sacred Heart Convent in London, Ontario and given the name Sister Marie Angela. After her first vows on August 25, 1950, she returned to Edmonton where she took teacher training at the University of Alberta, graduating in 1951. Sister Marie Angela Aubert professed her final vows on August 25, 1954 in London. Her first assignment, until 1957, was at the Catholic school in St. Bride's, Alberta where she was a teacher, then principal. From 1957 to 1961, Sister Marie Angela Aubert was assigned to the business office at St. Joseph's Hospital in Galahad, Alberta. After she returned to teach at St. Nicholas School in Edmonton until 1964. Then she was asked to teach business and religion at O'Leary High School. As head of the business department, she encouraged her students to manage a real business in the classroom under the sponsorship of Junior Achievement. The students had great success, even winning awards and a chance to go to Vancouver to compete in the Junior Achievement national competition. She finished her Bachelor of Education studies, graduating in 1969, from the University of Alberta. In 1971, Sister Marie Angela Aubert returned to London, Ontario as head of the business department at Mount St. Joseph Academy, and in 1975, was assigned to Catholic Central High School. While teaching there from 1975 to 1978, she supervised the Catholic Central High School Business Club and received the Catholic Central High School Business Club award. When Mount St. Joseph Academy closed, the facility was opened as a Guest Wing for those who had a family member as a patient in University Hospital, and Sister Marie Angela Aubert was appointed treasurer. During those years, she volunteered at the jail, participated in the Toastmistress Club, initiated self-Bible study, and turned Gospel stories into plays. She also maintained an interest in social justice, reaching out to the least fortunate and forgotten. In 1985 and 1987, the Ministry of Corrections gave her service awards for her volunteer work at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre where she was the Coordinator of R. C. [Roman Catholic] Jail Ministry Volunteers. In 1991, she was moved to Ignatia Hall Infirmary and then to the care centre at 485 Windermere Road when it was built in 2007. Sister Marie Angela Aubert died there on January 17, 2008. A Mass of Resurrection was held in St. Joseph Chapel at the 485 Windermere Road residence. She is buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in London.
David Boyd (b. 1951) and raised in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, he received his Honours B.A. in English (1974) from Mt. Allison University. Upon graduation, he joined Appleby College as a teacher of English in the Junior School and was a faculty member from 1974 to 2008. During his tenure, David taught English at every level and was instrumental in introducing and molding the writer’s craft and media arts courses for senior students. He wrote and directed numerous plays for the Junior School, including two three-act musicals, Tom Brown’s Schoolday, the Musical (1991), and Mice in the Cellar (1992), as well as Macbeth, A Multimedia Event (1995) and Caesar, A Multimedia Event (2005). He created the Black Magic Mime Troupe composed of students from grades 6 to 8 who performed throughout Ontario. He established and supervised the long-running student newspaper Re•Source and designed Appleby’s first website.
Away from teaching, David coached hockey, softball, cricket, soccer, and basketball. He has served as assistant housemaster of Junior School House, and later as Housemaster of Chattaway’s from 1974 to 1988 and was assistant house director of Powell’s House from 2001-2008. In 1999, he received the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. David founded TEACH-IT, an international education technology team that instructs educators on integrating technology into the curriculum. He was the former Chairman of the Read In Foundation Inc., an international organization that promotes literacy through telecommunications. David introduced Read In! events at Appleby where students had the opportunity to discuss books, speak to authors over the Internet prior to introducing the school’s laptop program. As a forward thinker and technological innovator, David assisted with the transition to e.school@appleby program.
Outside of Appleby, David has authored more than 20 books for children and young adults. His novel Bottom Drawer (1996) was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Text.
Juliette Caillouette was born on November 7, 1930 in Meacham, Saskatchewan, the daughter of Ernest Caillouette of St. Arsene, QC and Olga Loiselle of Saskatchewan. She entered the congregation and and received her habit August 25, 1948, receiving her religious name of Sister Theresa Marie. She made her final vows on August 25, 1953.
Sister Theresa Marie obtained her BA Hons from the University of Western Ontario in 1954. In 1960, she earned her MA in Theology from the University of Notre Dame. She also earned her Ontario High School Specialist teaching certificate-permanent in the same year. She achieved her Alberta Permanent Professional teaching certificate in 1962. She completed postgraduate work in guidance at Fordham University in 1966, and in French at the Institut Catholique in Paris in 1967. She also attended training at Lutheran General Hospital with the Loyola Institute of Pastoral Studies in Chicago from 1983-1984, completing one unit of the C.P.E (spiritual care training). Later, she trained at University Hospital in London, ON as a C.P.E. Resident, completing one basic and two advanced units.
Sister Theresa Marie taught at Mount St. Joseph Academy in London, ON from 1954- 1956, and then at a high school in Sarnia, ON from 1956-1960. She then moved to Edmonton, AB where she worked as a high school principal from 1960-1962. Returning to London in 1962, she again taught at Mount St. Joseph Academy until 1964, and then at Catholic Central High School from 1964-1967.
From 1967-1972, she served as vocation director and undertook formation work for the religious community, and from 1969-2007 was involved in spiritual direction and retreat work. Sister Theresa Marie served as a pastoral minister with St. Joseph's Parish in Sarnia from 1972-1979. She then took up a leadership role with the Sisters of St. Joseph in London and served as a General Councillor from 1979-1983. Beginning in 1984, she worked in pastoral care with St. Joseph's Hospital in Sarnia until 1985. She then became Manager of the Pastoral Care Department at the hospital, a role she remained in until 1987.
Returning to London, she was elected the General Superior from 1987-1995. During her time as the congregational leader, Sister Theresa Marie served as a board member with the St. Joseph's Health Centre in London from 1987-1995. During the same period, from 1991-1993, she was elected Vice-President of Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada, and then President from 1993-1995. Overlapping with this position, she served as Vice-President of the Canadian Religious Conference from 1993-1995.
During her term as General Superior, missions opened in Fort Good Hope, NWT in 1989, in Faro, YT, Fort Liard, NWT and Deline (Fort Franklin), NWT in 1990, in Igloolik, NU in 1991, and in Lutselk'e, NWT, and Behchoko (Fort Rae), NWT in 1994. A Marriage Tribunal began in Toronto, and the Adult Spirituality Centre on Brock Street, Windsor, opened in 1994. Sister Theresa Marie was the chaplain for Windsor Regional Hospital in Windsor from 1996-2001. She served as a board member for the Hotel Dieu-Grace Hospital in Windsor from 1998-2001. After her retirement in March 2001, she worked in spiritual direction, pastoral counselling, and grief counselling until 2006. She also served as a member of the Canadian Medaille Team in 1967. She died on December 14, 2020.
Catherine Anne Campbell was born in Thorah Township, Brock Settlement, Ontario on November 17, 1840. Catherine Anne's parents were Kenneth A. Campbell (born ca. 1800, died 1877) and Anne McEwen (born 1803 in Scotland, died February 18, 1872). The family lived in the Brock Settlement in Ontario, situated southeast of Lake Simcoe. The first resident priest in the Settlement in 1855 was Rev. John Walsh, who was later named Bishop of London in 1867. Catherine's father was a farmer and was appointed postmaster in 1829 to carry mail on foot from Thorah to Whitby every two weeks to the store of Mr. J. B. Warren. As there were no postage stamps, he received a small amount of money from those for whom he carried letters or parcels.
Catherine Anne attended S. S. #1 School in Thorah Township. It was later known as Riverview or the "Swamp" school. On October 9, 1855, scarcely fifteen years of age and having never known a religious sister, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto at their Motherhouse on Power Street. However, homesickness overcame her and she asked for her father who came for her. As they were ready to leave, she decided to go to the Chapel for moment. She came out of the Chapel and told her father that she had changed her mind. He was said to be a little indignant, but he rejoiced at her remaining. She never experienced any more doubts about her vocation, and it taught her compassion for others who struggled in the same way.
Catherine Anne was formally received into the Congregation on May 3, 1856, and she was given the religious name, Sister Ignatia. The Reception ceremony was under the guidance of Mother Delphine Fontbonne, niece of Mother St. John, from whom she imbibed the spirit of the original foundation in LePuy, France. Mother Ignatia professed her vows on October 15, 1858. She taught elementary classes at St. Patrick's School in Toronto and in the separate schools of St. Catharines and Barrie. In 1867 Sister Ignatia was assigned to Thorold to teach in the Catholic school and named Superior of the newly opened Convent.
The following year Sister Ignatia travelled to London along with four other Sisters to establish a convent in response to a request from Bishop John Walsh. He announced to the parishioners of St. Peter's Parish that the Sisters would visit the sick and the poor, teach in the separate schools, visit prisoners, and establish an orphanage. They arrived on December 11, 1868, and settled in their first home which was situated on Kent Street. However before long they moved to Mount Hope to prepare the orphanage for seventeen orphans arriving October 2, 1869. On December 18, 1870, Bishop Walsh received the vows of the Sisters who were residing in London, establishing a separate Congregation and he appointed Sister Ignatia to be the General Superior. She was then known as Reverend Mother Ignatia Campbell. Mother Ignatia arranged for an Act of Incorporation which gave legal status to the London Community on February 15, 1871.
The children in the orphanage were Mother Ignatia's first concern and she did everything to clothe and feed them. She was known for her compassion and concern for the old people who came to live at Mount Hope. In order to meet all their needs a bazaar was organized at City Hall and three thousand dollars were realized.
A few hundred dollars was the salary of the Sister-teachers for the year, so Mother Ignatia and the Sisters canvassed the people of London and surrounding areas for food and clothing for the orphans. Mother Ignatia was always concerned for her Sisters who were entering and teaching in some of the separate schools in the city and surrounding towns. She arranged for lecturers to teach and assist the teachers.
At Bishop Walsh's request, Mother Ignatia discontinued the "lay" Sisters. Therefore, all new members were allowed to assume the regular habit.
She was known for her kindness to priests of the diocese as she opened Mount Hope to retreats and ordinations for the priests until the new St. Peter's Cathedral was completed in 1885.
Requests for teachers increased and Mother Ignatia opened a convent in Goderich where the Sisters taught in the school. As more requests came, Sisters were missioned to St. Thomas and Ingersoll to teach in the Catholic schools. As the Community, the number of orphans and the elderly at Mount Hope grew, the building became inadequate, and it was necessary to build. The official opening of the new building took place in 1877.
Mother Ignatia, who was worn out with the responsibilities of her position and anxiety over finances, was ordered to rest to regain her health so she travelled with Sister Francis O'Malley to Orillia where her brother, Rev. Kenneth Campbell was parish priest. While she was away, Sister Aloysia Nigh arranged for gas to be installed in the building and when Mother Ignatia returned the entire house was illuminated to welcome her home.
The Community celebrated Mother Ignatia's 25th anniversary in 1881. Her brother, Archdeacon Kenneth Campbell of Orillia, presented her with a silver Monstrance for the Chapel.
When the pleasure boat, "The Victoria," sank on the Thames River after leaving Springbank Park, Mother Ignatia sent Sisters, two by two, to visit and to help the families who had lost a loved one.
In 1884 she arranged for the Sisters to take charge of the domestic arrangements at Sandwich College, later known as Assumption College, where priests were educated. The Sisters of St. Joseph remained there until 1904.
Mother Ignatia was truly a dedicated apostolic religious. No matter how demanding her administrative duties, she was always attentive to the needs of the Sisters, especially the sick and suffering.
When the new St. Peter's Cathedral opened, Mother Ignatia and the Sisters hosted a banquet at Mount Hope for Bishop Walsh and his guests.
In 1887 there was an epidemic of "black diphtheria" at the orphanage. Two Sisters, who were with the orphans, remained quarantined with the sick for three months. Mother Ignatia initiated prayers to St. Roch during the epidemic as he was known as a protector from contagious diseases.
The Inspector of Charitable Institutions, Dr. W. T. O'Reilly encouraged Mother Ignatia to open a hospital in London. The first hospital in the former home of Judge W. T. Street across from Mount Hope, was opened in 1888. Another hospital was established in Chatham, ON when the vacant Salvation Army Barracks was leased for two years. The new hospital was built on King Street West and was formally opened and blessed on November 15, 1891.
Due to overcrowding at Mount Hope, the need to separate the children and the senior residents was the catalyst which encouraged Mother Ignatia to seek a new property. When Hellmuth Ladies College closed, she planted a statue on the grounds outside the gate and when it was announced that Norwood House, Hellmuth College, the Chapel and one hundred and forty acres of land were for sale, Mother Ignatia immediately sought the help of Mr. Philip Pocock who bought the property for her with the approval of the Administrator of the Diocese, Rev. Joseph Bayard. The Sisters began collecting for funds to repair the buildings. Another bazaar and orphans' benefit program helped to finance the project. After the blessing on April 26, 1900, Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse, Novitiate and Orphanage officially opened. The task of moving one hundred and eight orphans across the river on the stepping stones where the bridge had been torn down, was a mammoth one, along with having to say goodbye to their first home at Mount Hope. She rejoiced though with the Sisters and orphans who were enjoying the invigorating air and scenic beauty of their new home, named Mount St. Joseph.
After Mother Ignatia sent two Sisters to study as graduate nursing specialists, the St. Joseph's Schools of Nursing at the London and Chatham hospitals were established.
Mother Ignatia, who had governed the Community for thirty-two years, from 1870-1902, resigned as General Superior and was elected first councillor in 1902. She resided at the Convent in St. Thomas. At her Golden Jubilee, which was celebrated on May 3, 1906, she was given a gold Chalice as a gift from the Community. Present for the celebration were her four nieces. Three were members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peterborough and one was a member of the Loretto Sisters of Toronto.
Mother Ignatia lived in the Convent in St. Mary's when it opened in 1913. That same year, Convents were opened in Seaforth and Woodstock and St. Joseph's Hospital in Chatham was enlarged. The Motherhouse was moved to Sacred Heart Convent in 1914 which had been the Academy of the Sacred Heart Religious.
In 1916, Mother was honoured by the Community on her Diamond Jubilee. The celebration of three days, consisted of a Solemn High Mass each day, programs honouring her, and festivities celebrated at St. Joseph's Hospital, the House of Providence and Mount St. Joseph Orphanage.
In December 1918, the Community celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the coming of Sisters of St. Joseph to London. Mother Ignatia was present for the Mass and was the only living member who was with the original band of Sisters who arrived in London in 1868.
Mother Ignatia also observed the sixtieth anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of St. Joseph to London. Mother Ignatia's death came on January 3, 1929, on the closing day of the Sisters' annual retreat. The Ceremony of Reception of the Habit which was to occur the next day was held as planned. The Vicar General reminded the postulants who were to receive the habit that they would never be called upon to make such sacrifices or experience such difficulties as Mother Ignatia had realized in her long religious life as pioneer and founder. "Her fingers had been worn and her Habit often frayed during her long years of charitable service."
Josephine Hildegarde Coughlin was born in Mount Camel, Ontario on December 30, 1887 to Bartholomew Coughlin and Johanna Curtin. One of her sisters, Nora (1884-1957), also joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of London and took on the religious name Sister St. Francis. Josephine entered the congregation and received her habit on June 24, 1909. She was given the religious name Sister Margaret and professed her vows on September 16, 1911, in the Chapel of St. Anne at Mount St. Joseph, London, Ontario. After completing senior high school, she attended Ottawa Normal School and graduated in 1913. She then taught in St. Thomas, London, and Woodstock and was appointed the community’s Supervisor of Schools, a position she held for 11 years. In 1945, Sister Margaret transferred to St. Patrick’s High School in Sarnia where she took charge of building an expansion of the original school.
In 1947 she was elected as General Superior. During Mother Margaret’s term as General Superior a great many projects were initiated. Among them were St. Joseph’s House of Studies, which opened for Sisters in studies at London’s University of Western Ontario; property at 353 and 534 Queens Avenue was purchased as a residence for Sisters; Sisters were missioned to housekeeping duties at the Holy Family Retreat House which the Diocese opened in Oxley, on Lake Erie; St. Mary’s Hospital building project was completed and opened in 1951; Catholic Central High School was opened and a private school at Sacred Heart Convent began; a summer home was purchased in Kingsville for the Sisters; a new mission for Sisters in Yellowknife, NT was established; Holy Rosary Convent in Windsor was purchased to replace the overcrowded Cadillac Street convent; two Sisters went to Ireland to seek new candidates; an aspirancy was opened to train young women interested in becoming Sisters; St. Joseph’s House of Studies was opened in Windsor; new Constitutions were approved and sod was turned for a new Motherhouse at Mount St. Joseph.
Under Mother Margaret Coughlin, the “Ireland project” was initiated and Sisters were sent to Ireland in the hopes of recruiting young women interested in joining the congregation. The Superiors’ Institute was initiated in 1958 along with a tertianship program for Sisters, and held at Holy Rosary Convent in the summer with Rev. Embser, C. S. B, assisted by Sister Mary Angela Flaherty. In 1950, Mother Margaret and Sister Placidia Walsh went on a Holy Year pilgrimage to Rome, Italy, and visited the Sisters of St. Joseph in Le Puy and Lyon, France, to celebrate the Sisters of St. Joseph’s tercentenary. During her trip to Rome, she consulted with Monsignor Elio Gambari concerning papal approbation of the congregation’s rule, and as a result the Constitutions received Pontifical Approbation on July 11, 1953.
Mother Margaret Coughlin was deeply involved in the designing of the chapel of the new Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. It was she who insisted the windows from the old chapel should be incorporated into the new one. In designing the Chapel, her love of the Eucharist shone through as she worked with the architect and artisans to produce a masterpiece of artistry from the wrought iron grill, the pews and sanctuary furnishings which all bore hand-carved grapes and wheat design, symbolic of the Eucharist. The formal opening of the new Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse on June 20, 1954, presented to the people of London a building with heraldic towers and a beautiful chapel with stained glass windows personally chosen by her in consultation with the artist, Guido Polloni, of Florence, Italy.
The Superiors’ Institute was initiated in 1958 along with a tertianship program for Sisters, held at Holy Rosary Convent in the summer with Rev. Embser, C.S.B., assisted by Sister Mary Angela Flaherty. When Sister Julia Moore was elected General Superior in 1962, Mother Margaret remained as an elected Council member. She encouraged the opening of the first foreign mission in Cayalti, Chiclayo Diocese in Peru. A new regional house, St. Joseph’s Convent, was opened in Edmonton, AB. She helped to plan for Ignatia Hall - a home for the senior Sisters and the sick, which was completed in 1969. It was she who suggested that Ignatia Hall be so named since Mother Ignatia must not be forgotten. Mother Margaret died on December 2, 1980.
Born Mary Margaret Ferris in London in 1931, Sister Margaret Ferris is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London, who spent much of her life furthering her education and ministry. In particular, she was a reformer and innovator of prayer, community involvement, and spiritual direction at the Congregation. She also published a book titled Compassioning: Basic Counselling Skills for Christian Caregivers in 1993, and various articles pertaining to spiritual direction and community living and involvement.
Sister Margaret Ferris was involved in her local parish at an early age and was especially encouraged in her faith by her grandmother, who lived with the Ferris family. At a young age she began to consider entering religious life. She completed upper school at St. Angela’s College in 1950 and was a member of the first class to ever graduate from Catholic Central High School in 1951. At age 22, after working as a legal secretary, she joined the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. After the completion of her novitiate, she attended the University of Western Ontario where she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1959, and Master’s degree in Education in 1977. In 1959, she began her teaching career as a high school teacher.
She continued to advance in her career in the 1960s. She became vice-principal of St. Patrick’s High School in Sarnia in 1963, and then principal of Mount St. Joseph Academy in 1966. During the 1960s, she continued to further her own education. She studied during the summer months at the University of Notre Dame. There she received a Master’s degree in Science in 1968. She also became a leader of spiritual renewal at the Congregation, which resulted in a strengthening of her own prayer life.
In 1972, she resigned as principal of Mount St. Joseph Academy, and with three other Sisters, established Internos, a home for troubled teenage girls, who experienced family difficulties or substance abuse. Her ministry evolved as she became exposed to and involved in family and community life. In 1977, she became Director of the Congregation’s Medaille Retreat House. During this time, she was also completing her Master’s degree in Counselling at the University of Western Ontario part-time. During this time, she continued to broaden her experience and understanding of spiritual direction and contemplative spirituality.
In 1978, she was elected to the Congregation’s General Council while still maintaining her position at the Retreat House where she worked alongside individuals of other Christian denominations. In 1984, she studied for a year at the Institute for Creation-Centred Spirituality in California where she obtained a Master’s degree in Spirituality and Culture. She marks this as the richest experience of community in her life, which strengthened and broadened her own spiritual understanding and life.
When she returned to London in 1985, she was asked to join St. Peter’s Seminary as a faculty member in the positions of teacher, counsellor, and Formation Director for Lay Ministry. She was the first woman professor to work full-time at St. Peter’s Seminary. This was another fulfilling experience for Sister Margaret Ferris as she was able to influence the development of the Church and to empower the laity. She held this position for over ten years. In 1992 she obtained her Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Direction at the Graduate Theological Foundation, and in 2007 she received an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from the same institution.
Sister Margaret Ferris also dedicated a portion of her life to travelling. From 1959-1963, she made various trips around Ontario and northern U.S.A. In 1981, she travelled to Peru and Florida. In 1990, she and other Sisters visited Rome where she also met Pope John Paul II and received a rosary from him. In 2003, she made a pilgrimage to Le Puy, France, from where the Sisters of St. Joseph originally came. In 2004, she was honoured as one of the seven Golden Jubilarians in the Congregation. She died in 2017.
Cathleen Flynn was born in London, Ontario on May 1, 1933. She entered the congregation on July 1, 1951, and received her habit on January 3, 1952. She made her final vows on January 3, 1957. Her religious name was Sister Mary Brendan. She was the daughter of Timothy Flynn and Mary McNally both of Ireland. Cathleen attended St. Mary's Elementary School, St. Angela's College, and Catholic Central High School in London, ON.
While in the novitiate, Sister Mary Brendan completed her teacher training at London Teachers' College in 1955. She then earned her BA at Assumption University in Windsor, ON, followed by her MA at Manhattanville College in New York, NY in 1967. She completed her STM in (Masters in Sacred Theology) at Regis College in Toronto in 1983, and her PhD in Ministry, also at Regis College in 1990.
From 1955-1961, Sister Mary Brendan was a teacher and principal in Windsor. She returned to London and taught at the same high school she had attended in her youth, from 1961-1963. She then served as Mistress of Novices at Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse in London from 1964-1971. As a member of the Commission of Religious, Sister Mary Brendan made a significant contribution to Synod II of the Diocese of London in 1969. She was then elected General Superior, a position she held from 1971-1979. As Superior General, Mother Mary Brendan was a member of the boards of the community's hospitals in London, Chatham, and Sarnia. The varied works of the Sisters involved her in separate school education as well as the private Mount St. Joseph's Academy and St. Joseph's School of Music in London. She was also involved in health care, social work, pastoral care, the mission field in the NWT and in Peru, care of the aged, and retreat programs.
Sister Cathleen then worked as the Assistant Director of Continuing Education at Regis College in Toronto from 1983-1986. While a student in the Doctor of Ministry Program at Regis College, she worked as the Director of Continuing Education from 1986-1990, and upon graduation, continued in this role until 2000. She then became the Director of the Master of Arts Degree program at Regis College in 2000, and then the Vice President of Regis College from 2001-2002. She served on the Board of Governors at Regis College from 2000-2005. Sister Cathleen also served on the Faculty Council, Academic Council, and Dean's Council at Regis College in 1996, on the Appointment and Rank Committee in 1998, as Vice Chair of the Academic Council in 2003, and was appointed Professor Emerita from 2007-2008. Sister Cathleen died on February 13, 2020.
Sister Eveline Gagner was born in Chatham, Ontario on July 3, 1917. She was one of five children born to Dieudonne Gagner of Tilbury, Ontario and Marie Helene Caron of Dover Township, Kent County, Ontario. Her sister, Viola Marie Blanche, also entered the Congregation, and was given the religious name Yvonne.
Sister Eveline received her B.A. from Assumption University, Windsor in 1963, and her M.A. in Theology from the University of Windsor in 1972. She received a diploma from Lumen Vitae in Brussels. Following this, she received the Attestation d’Etudes: Recherche en Catéchèse from the University of Montreal in 1967. Three years later, in 1970, she received her Attestation d’Etudes: Perfectionnement en Religion from the University of Sherbrooke. Sister Eveline attended the EXODUS program in St. Louis Missouri, during a sabbatical period in 1988.
As well as her academic training, Sister Eveline holds her permanent teaching certificates for French and English. She taught from 1939 to 1979 in separate schools in Ontario, in London, Windsor, Belle River and Sarnia, and held positions as principal as well during this time. From 1969 to 1973, she served as the religion consultant for the Roman Catholic Separate School Board in Windsor, Ontario. From 1979 to 1982 Sister Eveline worked in the field of adult faith education as a catechist in the Stratford Deanery, followed by pastoral ministry at St. Andrew’s Parish in London from 1982 to 1988. Sister Eveline served as a volunteer in various capacities, including as a hospital visitor and ministering to the poor.
Sister Mary Anthony Hartleib (nee Mary Anne Lenore) was born in Stratford, Ontario on February 10, 1924. She was the daughter of Charles Henry Hartleib and Loretta Durand. Her stepmother was Mary Hartleib of Waterloo, Ontario. Mary Anne Lenore Hartleib joined the congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London, Ontario and received the habit on July 2, 1965. She made her final vows on May 30, 1971 in the Chapel at Mount St. Joseph. She was given the religious name Sister Mary Anthony. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in art and theology at the University of Windsor in 1969, and then studied at Althouse College in London, Ontario. Sister Mary Anthony received a permanent teaching certificate in 1972, a supervisor’s certificate in art, and a teaching certificate in art and English. From 1970 until 1981, she supervised the art department at Mount St. Joseph Academy in London. She was appointed assistant bursar at Mount St. Joseph, but continued with art and the teaching of ceramics until 1985 when her art work took a new turn. Always interested in the spiritual, Sister Mary Anthony turned to iconography. She spent two years studying Chinese water colour painting, followed by three years of iconography. She was a scholar, a skilled teacher of art, and a passionate advocate of the way icons open the mystery of the sacred. Sister Mary Anthony became well known as an iconographer and maintained a studio in the Sisters’ residence after Mount St. Joseph Academy closed. For several years, she shared her knowledge of iconography with the seminarians at St. Peter’s Seminary in London. The community of the Sisters of St. Joseph moved to 485 Windermere Road in 2007, where Sister Mary Anthony occupied her own art studio. Three of her icons, including that of the Blessed Trinity, were placed in the Chapel at the new residence. After a very short illness, Sister Mary Anthony died in the care centre at the Sisters’ Residence on June 23, 2008. Her funeral Mass of Resurrection was celebrated in St. Joseph Chapel in the residence at 485 Windermere Road. Father Frank O’Connor of St. Peter’s Seminary was the main celebrant. Sister Mary Anthony was buried in St. Peter’s cemetery in London.
Sister Mary Leo Kirwin was born Mary Margaret Kirwin in Ingersoll, Ontario on January 7, 1922 to Leo Joseph Kirwin and Mae Henesey. Mary attended Sacred Heart School from 1936-1940 and Ingersoll Collegiate Institute from 1940-1942. She then completed her teacher training at London Normal School from 1941-1942. After earning her teaching certificate, she spent the summer of 1942 working in a munitions factory, but began teaching in September of that year. Her teaching career began at RCSS #2 in Clinton, Ontario. She then taught at Sacred Heart School in Ingersoll from 1944-1946, and later moved to St. Mary’s School from 1946-1947. On July 2, 1947, Mary Kirwin entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and received the habit on January 3, 1948. She took the name Sister Mary Leo. She took her final vows on January 3, 1953.
Sr. Mary Leo Kirwin worked as a teacher from 1950-1953 at the Holy Rosary School in London, Ontario. From 1953-1957, she served at this school as the principal. She moved to Simcoe to be a teacher and principal at St. Mary’s Catholic School from 1957-1961. During this time, Sr. Mary Leo also attended the University of Western Ontario and obtained her B.A. in 1958. From 1961-1965, she taught at St. Louis School, Riverside in Windsor. She remained in Windsor from 1965 to 1967, where she taught at F.J. Brennan Catholic High School. She then returned to London and became a teacher and head of the home economics department at Mount St. Joseph Academy from 1969-1983. While she was teaching in London, she graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Specialist in Home Economics in 1980.
In 1983, Sr. Mary Leo was called to move to Edmonton to serve as the General Superior of St. Joseph’s Convent and act as coordinator of Western Houses, a role in which she served until 1989. While living at the Edmonton Regional House in 1987, Sister Mary Leo became involved with the People In Need Shelter Society during a housing crisis. Along with Sister Alice Caswell and Sister Olga Barilko, she worked with disabled people. She also worked with the poor alongside Sister Esther Lucier. Her involvement grew and eventually the Society named a house for homeless men and women after her (the Kirwin Lucier House). From 1989-1991, she took up a new role at Elizabeth Place, a home for needy women in Edmonton. She was also involved with the Elizabeth Fry Society where she worked with prison women doing handiwork and visiting. In 1991, she returned to London, where she served as the general treasurer at Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse until 1998. In addition, she was on the local leadership council. Although she retired in 1998, Sr. Mary Leo Kirwin still provided relief for Sr. Veronica Cooke at Elaine Lucas Place from 1999-2001. The Elaine Lucas Place in London is a 45 bed residence for the homeless on Little Simcoe Street with which Sr. Mary Leo Kirwin was affiliated.
Sr. Mary Leo was involved in many committees throughout her life, including the Elizabeth Fry Society in Edmonton, L.I.F.T. Housing in London, and the Congregational bursary, donations, and strategic planning committees. She was also a community representative on the Red Cross Board.
One of her lasting contributions was her work with a low-income housing organization in Edmonton, the Edmonton Inner City Housing Society. The society opened its first project, a five-bedroom house in the McCauley neighbourhood and 30 years later, the year Sr. Mary Leo died, the same Edmonton Inner City Housing Society had grown to the point where it owned and managed more than 20 housing developments. These houses provided shelter for individuals and families, and supported 500 people in 300 housing units in inner city neighbourhoods.
Sr. Mary Leo also, as a result of visiting at Edmonton Women’s Prison, saw the need for post-incarceration housing for women. The Congregation bought a house, known as Elizabeth House, with a Sister serving as housemother. Later, they purchased another house called Tess’s House, with Sister Theresa Carmel Slavik serving as housemother for at risk young adults.
The Kirwin-Lucier House, which opened in 1993 in Edmonton, is a housing project of the Edmonton People in Need Shelter Society and provides a home for people with chronic mental disorders or substance abuse. It was named after Sisters Mary Leo Kirwin and Esther Lucier for their contributions to the society and its clients.
Sister Mary Leo was an expert at needlework, sewing of all kinds, quilting, upholstery, caning, and gardening. In 1976, her students at Mount St. Joseph Academy made an Olympic quilt which was presented to Prime Minister Trudeau. She continued making at least two quilts each year with a friend from the low cost housing development in London, until her death.
Sr. Mary Leo died November 26, 2015 in London, Ontario and is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in London, Ontario.
Mary Lillian Kuntz was born in London, Ontario on December 30, 1935. She was the daughter of Edward J. Kuntz and Margaret H. Ward. Mary Lillian attended St. Angela’s School in London from 1949-1950, and then Catholic Central High School in London from 1950-1953. She entered the Congregation on July 2, 1953 and received the habit and her religious name Dolores on January 3, 1954. She took her final vows on January 3, 1961. Sister Mary Lillian trained at London Teachers’ College from 1956-1957. Later, she attended the University of Windsor, obtaining her B.A. in 1965. This was followed by the completion of an M.A. in Educational Administration from Columbia University in New York in 1976. Almost a decade later, she completed a B.A. and J.C.L. in Canon Law from the University of Ottawa in 1985.
Sister Mary Lillian served as a teacher and principal in London from 1957-1972. She spent the summer of 1969 in Uganda, teaching mathematics to teachers. She then moved to Yellowknife, where she was principal at St. Patrick’s High School until 1977. During her time in the north, she also served as a bursar for the local religious community. She returned to London, and taught high school mathematics from 1978-1981. She then worked as an administrator at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse from 1981-1983.
Following this, Sister Mary Lillian studied canon law in Ottawa from 1983-1985, and then received several canonical appointments. She was the Associate Judge and substitute Defender of the Bond for the Vancouver Regional Tribunal, working through the Nelson, B.C. office in 1984. She then served as Judge and Defender of the Bond for the Nelson Marriage Tribunal after it became a distinct Diocesan Tribunal in 1985. She was appointed to the Disability Pension Committee for the Diocese of Nelson in 1985. In 1987, she was appointed Judge, Auditor and Notary on the Marriage Tribunal in Nelson. She held this position until 1993, when she also became the Director of the Marriage Tribunal. In 1996, she became the Director of the Nelson-Kamloops Interdiocesan Tribunal, still serving as a Judge and Auditor.
Sister Mary Lillian held other positions of service, including on the Diocesan Synod Steering Committee, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Committee, and the Cathedral Liturgy Committee. She was the treasurer for the Sisters’ Council in the Diocese of Nelson. Sister Mary Lillian was also a world traveller.
Sister Mary Lillian died on October 23, 2015 in London Ontario and is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, in the same city.
Susan McCarthy was born on January 1, 1862, at Maidstone, Essex County, Ontario. She was one of eleven children born to Jeremiah McCarthy and Susan McMahon. She joined the Sisters of St. Joseph congregation in London, Ontario, and received the habit on March 19, 1881, taking her final vows on December 8, 1883, at Mount Hope. Her religious name was Sister Mechtilde McCarthy. She taught at St. Peter’s School, London for 22 years and at the Roman Catholic school in Goderich for two years. In 1911 she was appointed Superior at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London The chapel at St. Joseph’s Hospital was built under the guidance of Sister Mechtilde. It is of classic Renaissance architecture and Romanesque design. The whole chapel was a model of artistic taste and reflects on Sister Mechtilde under whose supervision it was erected. As the growth of the hospital kept pace with the city, an urgent need for larger facilities was realized and in 1914 work was begun to the west of the main building on an addition embodying the latest and best ideas of hospital construction and equipment.
In 1917, she was elected General Superior of the congregation. At that time there were 185 Sisters in the Community and the number of aged at the House of Providence was 212. The orphans at Mount St. Joseph orphanage numbered 231. In the Roman Catholic Schools the pupils numbered 1161 and in the hospitals there were 2573 patients. During her term of office she began a foundation in Edmonton which included a novitiate. A Eucharistic Congress was held at Mount St. Joseph in July 1923. The Community received approbation of the 1920 Constitutions which had been requested by Bishop Fallon in 1917. During her term of office, she began a foundation in Edmonton which included a novitiate. She left the office of General Superior in 1923 and continued mission work at St. Mary’s, Ingersoll, Belle River and at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, Ontario in 1934. She was General Superior from 1917-1923. She died on June 12, 1943.
Julia Cecilia Moore was born on November 30, 1911, to Francis (Frank) Joseph Moore (d. 1938) and Julia Camilla Coughlin (d. 1965) in St. Thomas, Ontario. Active in the St. Thomas community growing up, Cecilia was a summer lifeguard at Alma College Pool, and served as recreational director at her alma mater, St. Joseph’s High School, during her college years in the 1930’s. Having obtained an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and French from the University of Western Ontario, Cecilia went on to obtain a high school assistant certificate in English and History from the Ontario College of Education in Toronto. Cecilia entered the congregation in London, Ontario in 1935 at Sacred Heart Convent and received the habit and religious name of Sister Julia on August 25th, 1936. She professed her first vows on August 25th, 1938, and her final vows on August 25th, 1941 in the Chapel of Sacred Heart Convent. Sister Julia began teaching at St. Michael’s School in London, with teaching assignments at Roman Catholic high schools in St. Thomas and Sarnia, during which time she completed a Master of Arts Degree in French at Laval University. She eventually became the principal at Catholic Central High School in London. After two years as a principal, Sister Julia was elected General Superior in 1959. She held the position until 1971, then served four years as a General Councilor.
Her leadership had an impact on many aspects of the Sisters of St. Joseph’s involvement in education, health care, social work, retreat work and missions in Peru and Northern Canada. Mother Julia was also named Health Care Coordinator of the community, serving five hospitals and two chronic care hospitals. She was the Superior of the community of Sisters at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and a member of the pastoral care team, during which time she studied theology and scripture during a sabbatical year at Regina Mundi College in Rome. In 1979, Mother Julia returned to Mount St. Joseph where she directed retreats, and served as a spiritual director as well as a historian for the Congregation, and a consultant for the archives department. Mother Julia’s work, Beginnings in London Diocese 1868-1879, was presented to the Canadian Catholic Historical Society in 1978 and published by the London Roman Catholic School Board. Mother Julia died on October 5th, 1995.
Sister Chrysostom Murphy was born Mary Theresa Murphy in Balderson, Ontario on June 8, 1923, to Hugh Murphy and Teresa Hagan. She served as an organist at Sacred Heart Parish in Lanark and at the Parish of Annunciation in Enterprise, Ontario from 1936-1949. She attended Perth Collegiate, and then Ottawa Teachers' College from 1942-1943 and received her Permanent Elementary Teacher’s certificate. She then taught and served as a principal at Lanark, Drummond, Enterprise and Tillsonburg. She entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of London, Ontario, in July of 1950 and took the religious name Chrysostom. She received her habit January 3, 1951, and professed her first vows on January 3, 1952, and her final vows on January 3, 1956.
Sister Chrysostom taught at many schools in London from 1950-1953. She then served as both a principal and teacher in London schools from 1953-1962. In 1962, she received her B.A. from the University of Windsor, followed in 1965 by her Elementary Principal's certificate. She also obtained several teaching certificates in physical education, learning materials, guidance, and art. Sister Chrysostom moved to Windsor and again served as a principal and teacher until 1970. In June of 1970, she received her M.Ed. from the University of Toronto. She became the Director of Religious Education for the Kent County Roman Catholic Separate School Board in Chatham, serving in this position from 1970-1976. Following this, she returned to London in 1976 and worked as a teacher at Mount St. Joseph Academy until 1978.
Moving to Toronto, Sister Chrysostom took up the position of National Executive and Program Director of the Pontifical Association of the Holy Childhood from 1978-1989. After her long tenure in this position, she returned to London, and became the audio-visual assistant at Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. Sister Chrysostom was a member of the Canadian College of Teachers and was a lifelong learner, also taking training in photography, the Christopher Leadership course, and driving.
Sister Chrysostom Murphy celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2001 and her Diamond Jubilee in 2011. She died November 4, 2015, in London, Ontario.